The Panama Canal
Authority (ACP) presented its expansion proposal at the Caribbean Shipping Association
’s (CSA) 36th Annual General Meeting, Conference and Exhibition, held in Panama for the first time, on October 16-18, 2006. The conference was inaugurated by Dr. Ricaurte Vásquez, Minister of Canal Affairs and President of the ACP Board of Directors.
The annual CSA conference provides its members an opportunity to discuss the latest trends and issues in cargo and cruise shipping, terminal and port operations and port industrial relations. A key highlight of this conference was a tour of the Panama Canal
. CSA members took a partial transit through the waterway onboard a ship – starting at Gamboa, going through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks and ending at Fort Amador Marina.
Panamanians will vote October 22 in a national referendum on expansion. The project would build a third lane of traffic along the waterway through the construction of a new set of locks, which would allow more traffic and double Canal capacity, as the Panama Canal is nearing maximum capacity. An expanded Canal would benefit the people of Panama and world trade, and would help maximize Panama’s strategic location to become the great maritime hub of the Americas.